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S/SGT  Robert F. BROOKS

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: 33596487 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 05170 CR: 05170

Comments1: 24 MAY 44 BERLIN (CREW 37 PL 102624)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Clarke T.Johnson                 P  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
2nd Lt Raymond R.Lund               CP  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
2nd Lt Willard J.Hahn                  BOM  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
S/Sgt Robert L.Black                   ROG  POW 24/5/44 BERLIN
T/Sgt Thomas Beveridge,Jr    .     TTE  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
Sgt David L.Scofield                     BTG  POW 24/5/44 BERLIN
Sgt Robert F.Brooks                     RWG  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
Sgt Laurence A.St.John               LWG  KIA   24/5/44 BERLIN
Sgt Lawrence W.Barger                 TG  POW 24/5/44 BERLIN

349th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 9/5/44. This was their first combat mission. On 24/5/44, a Lt.Thomas J.Tracy (from Lt George Allen Crew) was aboard as navigator and was KIA.  In a letter from Robert Black, the crews original navigator was 2nd Lt Longstreet but he "washed out" and the crew went overseas as a nine man crew.  This would account for why Lt Thomas Tracy  (from Lt George Allen Crew) was onboard that day" (mpf 2001)

A/C# 42-102624   MACR #5170   Microfiche #1854.

In letter to Jan Riddling(3/8/00), Robert Black states that for some reason, several non-coms were given another stripe once they were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group.  Unusual, he was told, since this usually comes after several missions had been completed".  Anyway Black says that the ranks should be changed as follows:

Larry Barger-S/SGT
Larry St Johns-S/SGT
Bobby Brooks-S/SGT
Dave Scofield-S/SGT
Robert Black-T/SGT


2nd Lt Clarke T.Johnson P KIA 24/5/44 SN 0-754012 Forest Cemetery, Circleville, OH

2nd Lt Raymond R.Lund CP KIA " SN 0-816689 Mount Hope Cemetery, West Point, NE

2nd Lt Willard J.Hahn B KIA " SN 0-757517 Forestvale Cemetery, Helen, MT

S/Sgt Robert L.Black R POW "

T/Sgt Thomas Beveridge,Jr . E KIA " SN 19061304 Ardennes American Cemetery

Sgt David L.Scofield BT POW " Taps: 11 Feb 1967

Sgt Robert F.Brooks RW KIA " SN 33596487 Ardennes American Cemetery

Sgt Lawrence A.St.John LW KIA " SN 38340504 Ardennes American Cemetery

Sgt Lawrence W.Barger TG POW "

1st Lt Thomas Tracy-SN# 0-703667  Ardennes American Cemetary


Response from T/Sgt Robert Black concerning the killing of one of his Crew by German soldiers.... (mpf 2001)

"Your question regarding the shooting of one of my crew is an interesting
one.

I saw our plane (less the section back of my radio room) coming down.  
It turned in the air and looked like a large boomerang circling.  It crashed
(it had no bombs, remember story?)  and burst into a large fireball with
much smoke and noise.  I believe there was a fence of some sort near the
plane that  blocked my vision somewhat.  I must have been a mile or so away.
I did hear muffled voices after the weak "help...... ;help...

I believe the German G.I.,s  found our G.I. in such poor condition they just
shot him.  I've always felt it was a blessing.

Which crew member you asked.  Scofield, Barger, and I landed safely.  St.
Johns and my very good buddy Bobby Brooks who were terrified were in the
waist as the plane went into its dive.  They rode it down.

I think Johnson, Lund,  and Beveridge were killed while in the air.  That
leaves Tracy and Will Hahn.   Hahn was alive when we were at 5,000 feet.  My
guess is they shot Will Hahn.. May God bless him.

In 1989 I located Hahn's half brother in Helena, Montana.  I told him Will
had very likely saved my life and the lives of two others.  He said he had
never thought of his brother as being a hero.  I do."


T/Sgt Robert Black (2nd Lt Clarke T. Johnson Crew) Story of first and only mission (mpf): BERLIN

"I was radio/gunner on Clarke Johnson’s crew that went down on May 24, 1944, BERLIN! That morning our Group had difficulty in forming and we were behind the others as we crossed the Channel and on into Germany. No fighter protection. At 10:30AM, we were hit head on by 40 FW 190's. I had a 15 inch square piece of steel metal that I stood on at my gun position in the radio room. The plane jumped and shook violently...the piece of metal, other loose items, and I were flung through the air bouncing to the ceiling, the walls and the sides of the plane. When the plane finally settled down Dave Scofield jumped out of his ball turret and lay on the floor of the radio room. He had been hit in the hand, arm, the shoulder and neck on his left side. Larry Barger had vacated his tail gun position and was now sitting on the floor beside the left waist gunner. He pointed to his stomach area. A piece of metal from his flak vest had gone through his body and was sticking out the front and back. He called to me…he wanted us to take it out. I held him while our left waist gunner, Bobby Brooks, put his knee on Larry’s hip and pulled it out. Larry sat down." 

"I reconnected my throat mic and tried to call the pilot. No answer. Finally our bombardier, Will Hahn answered: Calm Down, calm down, what’s our situation back there?… two guys badly injured, our vertical tail is gone, heavy smoke in the bomb bay…both wings have large holes" 

BOMBARDIER: "I want to salvo the bombs…let me know when they are gone." Bombs Away! 

Hahn: 5,000 feet, 5,000! Get out! Get out! I called to the other four to get their chutes and bail out. 

None had their parachutes near them. Barger crawled back to his tail gun position to get his. All four of us were in line waiting for Barger to get the side door open. It was stuck. He lunged with all his weight and the door flew off with Barger going out also. Four of us ready. The plane went into a steep dive…we were pinned to the floor." 

"I was falling through the air…everything very quiet. I pulled the ring…nothing happened. I ripped the cover off, grabbed the silk and flung it over my head. The parachute opened. I saw one parachute a mile or two away from me. I was over a pasture. A town on one side, a road on another and wooded area. I hit the ground near a dozen black and white cows. One knee twisted under my body…sharp pain but no breaks. I pulled my parachute together and threw it behind some willow trees in a wet area. As I did this, I saw the wing part of a B-17 twisting down, down, down. It hit, a large explosion and a huge ball of fire and smoke. I was stunned. Then from the area of the plane crash a voice weakly called, "Help". A pause then "Help". I heard muffled voices then a single pistol shot." 

"I ran through the field towards the woods…Just as I got there two young Germans, twelve or thirteen, came out of the woods with long WW1 rifles…pointed at me and yelled…halt…halt. 

We stood there looking at each other. Four civilians ran toward me from the road yelling. They had hand tools and they started beating me. I went down and got up. Went down and got up, went down and stayed down. Two German GI’s ran up and pushed the civilians away. They pulled me to my feet and marched me to the roadside where a jeep like vehicle waited with its driver. I climbed in the small back seat with a German soldier pointing his burp gun at my face. A second jeep pulled along side with Larry Barger in the back seat." 

"I was taken to the town jail, Rottenhahn, Germany. Several hours later, I was fed fish and bread. The jailer’s wife cleaned and bandaged my split finger. Dave Scofield had somehow rolled out of the plane as I did. He was taken to a German hospital (Schleswig) and was returned to the USA after several weeks. Larry Barger was taken to hospital also (Vismars). He had nine major operations while there and was released in May 1945." 

My other seven crewmembers were KIA. I believe my Pilot, Co-pilot, TTE were killed by fighters as they raked us going by. Our Navigator may have been hit also. It appears our Bombardier, two waist gunners, and I were the only ones not hit. In a conversation with Barger years later he mentioned that our plane had exploded. I told him this was not so that it had come apart near the radio room and the ball turret. I then told him about the large wing section that had falled and burned…with no tail section. Tom Tracy was not a member of our crew…we did not have a navigator as ours "washed out" while we were at Langly Field VA. Tracy climbed aboard our plane as we were in take off postion…calling out to me as he hurried through my radio room…I’m your navigator, Lt Tracy…lets get this plane in the air…" 




E-Mail note from Robert Black to Michael P. Faley (May 21, 2001)Subject: Martin Hoskinson crash
It has been reported that this plane, which went down on May 24, 1944, may have been hit by a bomb from an American plane above. It seems this is not true.
I have been in touch with a German researcher who sent me the following:
Dear Robert:
Please let me give you an overview from this day out of the German eyes: On this May 24, 1944 was from the Germans point of view a big air battle in the region of south Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost county of Germany with border to Denmark.
The combat boxes of the BG's were flying in lots of cirrus clouds and the sight was extremely bad. So the German fighters made lots of passes and could not see exactly distances to the bombers. They said it was a milky haze from the cirrus and from the smoke of the engines.. In this air battle only in our region were KIA 3 fighter pilots, one of them was the wing commander of I./JG 11 1st. Lt. Konig. Konig was coming from the night fighters with only one eye and on this day due to extreme bad view he crashed into a B-17, obviously on one of the three reported. His wing was seen falling off and his FW 190 spiraled down.
After his death 1st. Lt. Koing was made Captain and got the knights cross. Another two pilots were shot down and wounded. In the air was a mixture of Me 109s and FW 190s.
This battle is called "Die Luftschlacht bei Kaltenkirchen" the air battle at Kaltenkirchen. Kaltenkirchen a/f was a well-known airfield in the region.
From Kaltenkirchen a/f to the crash point of the three B-17
Nr. 2102635 Hoskinson at east of Itzstedt
Nr. 2102648 Roeder at west of Sulfeld 
Nr. 21026624 Johnson northeast of Rotenhahn
are only about 30 km.
2102635 Hoskinson at Itzstedt and 2102648 Roeder at Sulfeld crashed only 200 m away from each other and I think that one of them had the air crash with commander Konig, If you know what position Hoskinson was flying it would be possible to say exactly that this ship had the crash.
The whole formation of I./JG 11 on this day had only 9 or 11 planes! (in another e-mail from our contact he reports another 30 German planes were in the air battle bringing the total to 40 which our U.S. records indicate.)
Should have had 27. The school chronicle says, that the plane with big noise came down out of the clouds and crashed into the earth exploding and burning with a big cloud of smoke. All airmen in the Itzstedt B-17 were dead inside the plane and burned by fire and the 10th lay outside the plane on a field. .
Robert L. Black, survivor of 2102624, crashed at Rotenhahn, had not seen a German fighter crashing into his plane as the survivors of the Roeder crew did not.. So from todays point of view 1st. Lt. Konig must have crashed into 2102635 Hoskinson.
In an earlier book by German fighter Fritz Engau says " This head on attack was one of the strangest and almost ghostly mission of I./JG 11. In more than 6,000 M (about 20,000 feet) the first B-17 appeared shadowy in a milky haze and made their vapor trails in this haze. The following b-17s made more and more vapor trails into haze and condensed the carped. Lt. Konig, who had only one eye made his head on pass obviously to late and crashed by accident into the B-17. Engau was flying second to the right and he saw something like a flash or explosion and thereafter-big pieces in the air. He had as well a B-17 in his Revi and shot some rounds but he got no credit this day.  Lt. Hans Heinrich "King" Konig was one of the experienced day fighting commanders with 28 credits-20 4 engine bombers.
Bob Black

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-05-24  
AIRCRAFT: (42-102624) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: A ROW: 31  
GRAVE: 4 CEMETERY: Ardennes, Neuville-en-Cond, Belgium  

PHOTOS:

Robert F. Brooks   349th   RWG   Pennsylvania   KIA   24 May 44   Berlin   Clarke T. Johnson Crew   (100th Photo Archives)

The Clarke T. Johnson Crew (left to right)
Front: Unknown (NAV), Willard Hahn (BOM), David Scofield (BTG), Lawrence St. John (LWG)
Back: Raymond Lund (CP), Thomas Beveridge (TTE), Robert Brooks (RWG),
Lawrence Barger (TG), Robert Black (ROG)
Photo taken at Avon Park, Florida, 1943- Crew ID and Photo provided by Robert L. Black (Sept 2006)
Note: According to Robert Black, the unknown NAV washed out at Langley Field during Pathfinder school. The crew went overseas with nine men. Clarke Johnson (P) took this picture. 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 554